Womble Carlyle recruits for legal assistance project for veterans

This article from the Winston-Salem Journal sure sounds like a very worthy volunteer opportuity for paralegals (& others):

"A statewide pro-bono project started by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC is recruiting licensed North Carolina attorneys, supervised paralegals, legal-support staff and law students to provide free legal assistance for military veterans."


Paralegals 'Adopt' Military Paralegals

This article from the Richmond (KY) Register -- "Showing you care may be easier than you think" -- shows how you can help support US troops:

"Receiving a package from someone special is always exciting, but for troops serving overseas, it’s a little piece of home.

"Many people may think it’s a good idea to send some goodies to our men and women who are at war, but don’t know where to begin. One Richmond woman said it’s easier than you might think.

"Lee Williams is a Richmond citizen and a member of the Greater Lexington Paralegal Association, an organization which provides resources to paralegals in Lexington, Richmond, Winchester and other surrounding areas. Since 2005, Williams and other GLPA members have adopted other paralegals who are in the military. They send them care packages and keep in contact with them until they come home.

"'It is a very simple thing to do,' Williams said. 'We have a military-issued list of what we can send to them and everybody has a copy of it. We donate to the box and when it’s full, we send it on. We always get responses that it makes them feel like Christmas and how thankful that they are that they have not been forgotten.'"

You can see the list of approved items at the article's end.


"New course for Air Force legal team"

Looking for a career change? Like adventure & travel? How about a tour in Iraq as a paralegal? Read all about ths opportunity here:

"The Judge Advocate Corps (JAG) of the U.S. Air Force has developed a new course on Task Force 134. This task force is a basic joint operation in which lawyers and paralegals work with the multinational forces in Iraq, according to Scott T. Sturkol, noncommissioned officer in charge of public affairs for U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center in Fort Dix. The group also has the job of detainee command and control, and rebuilding these forces."


Demand for paralegals in the military grows. And yes, you can be sent to Iraq:

"The Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Rear Adm. Bruce E. MacDonald, visited the military legal team deployed to Baghdad on March 10 and 11.

[snip]

"More than 100 military attorneys and paralegals -- mostly from the Navy and Air Force -- are deployed as individual augmentees to Iraq supporting the Multinational Force here. Most of them work for Task Force 134, the task force charged with detainee command and control, ensuring due process and assisting Iraq rebuild its judicial, correctional and law enforcement system.

[snip]

"During the two-day visit, MacDonald also re-enlisted Petty Officer 2nd Class Mica Elizabeth Chinn and Petty Officer 2nd Class Debra Bazan, both Magistrate Cell paralegals at Task Force 134, in a ceremony at Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory.

“'For him to come all the way from the states and re-enlist us meant a lot,' said Chinn. 'It shows he cares and we’re not just names or bodies to send to Iraq.'”


"Paralegal career field actively recruits Airmen"

Looking for a way to serve your country? Well, the Air Force wants you!

"The Air Force paralegal career field is actively recruiting motivated Airmen to join the Judge Advocate General Corps.

[snip]

"Master Sgt. Michael Gadson [PDF, scroll to page 4], Randolph Law Center superintendent, has been serving in the paralegal career field for 18 years. About three years ago, he had his first opportunity to work with a non prior service junior enlisted paralegal. This was a first for Randolph.

"Our field is in need of Airmen in the junior enlisted ranks to keep it growing steadily," he said. "We are seeking Airmen who are motivated and looking for a challenging career as a paralegal."

"The paralegal supports virtually all areas of the legal office including military justice, claims, civil law, legal assistance, contracts and the victim witness assistance program, Sergeant Gadson said.

"'Our field reaches everyone in some way,' he said. 'Paralegals hold a very highly visible job, often working closely with leadership. No two days are the same in this field.'"


Amnesty criticizes Guantanamo abuse investigation

I just hope the paralegal who blew the whistle doesn't have her career damaged:

"A human rights group on Thursday accused the U.S. military of failing to adequately investigate the latest allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay and urged officials to open the detention center to more independent monitors.

"An investigation was launched in October by U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the U.S. naval base in southeastern Cuba, after a Marine paralegal reported guards she met at Guantanamo bragged about beating detainees.

"Amnesty International said the probe was 'flawed' because the chief investigator, Army Col. Richard Bassett, did not interview any detainees before concluding there was no evidence of mistreatment."


"Surveillance of Soldiers' Blogs Sparks Lawsuit"

This sounds like a serious tug of war (so to speak), over free speech & security:

"The FLAG Project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Defense today, demanding expedited information on how the Army monitors soldiers' blogs.

"According to news reports, an Army unit called the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC) reviews hundreds of thousands of websites every month, notifying webmasters and bloggers when it sees information it finds inappropriate. Some bloggers have told reporters that they have cut back on their posts or shut down their sites altogether because of the activities of the AWRAC. EFF filed its suit [PDF] after the Department of Defense and Army failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about the blog monitoring program.

"'Soldiers should be free to blog their thoughts at this critical point in the national debate on the war in Iraq,' said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. 'If the Army is coloring or curtailing soldiers' published opinions, Americans need to know about that interference.'"


"Local peace vigils gaining popularity"

Well, this is one way to voice opinons about the Iraq war:

"With death tolls growing and President Bush vowing to send more troops to Iraq, more North Jersey protesters are appealing to their neighbors at anti-war vigils alongside highways, municipal buildings and churches, activists say.

[snip]

"Few local protests attract more than 50 people at a time, but some have grown slowly and steadily. A vigil alongside Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne started this summer with four people. On a recent Wednesday, a dozen people huddled in coats, hats and mittens alongside the windy highway. One of them was Laura Fram, a paralegal from Pompton Lakes who stopped on a whim on her way back from work."


"Corporations Decry Official's Detainee Screed"

So far, corporations aren't following Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Stimson's suggestion that they boycott firms representing Guantanamo detainees:

"It’s a rare day when law firms get called out for their pro bono work.

"But that’s exactly what happened when Pentagon official Charles “Cully” Stimson rattled off a list of firms representing Guantánamo Bay detainees — such as Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw; Jenner & Block; WilmerHale; and Covington & Burling — predicting that businesses would shun their outside counsel for making the companies foot terrorists’ legal bills.

“'I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms. And I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out,' said Stimson in an interview with Federal News Radio Jan. 11.

"And it has played out, but not in quite the way Stimson expected. Instead of Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, DaimlerChrysler, and Pfizer dumping their outside counsel in a fit of political protest, firms have largely gotten support from corporate America and from within their partnership ranks."

You can find a list of firms & detainees represented in this same article. Scroll down to table titled "For Detainees, a Load of Legal Firepower." a Load of Legal Firepower


Pentagon official draws criticism

Ah, think the guy who's slammed law firms' representation of detainees should be fired...or disbarred?

"Charles 'Cully' Stimson, deputy assistant secretary for defense for detainee affairs, has sparked a firestorm of anger, from Capitol Hill to America's law schools to even conservative quarters.

"He told a Washington, D.C., Beltway radio station last week that American corporations should boycott leading U.S. law firms that provide pro-bono service at the prison camps in the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

"On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania condemned Stimson's remarks on the floor of the Senate, where he until recently served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

'''When lawyers undertake the representation of individuals in unpopular causes, they are entitled to praise, not criticism,' said Specter, echoing an earlier condemnation by the new committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

[snip]

"As of Tuesday, nearly 140 law school deans had signed an Internet petition declaring themselves 'appalled' by the remarks of a fellow lawyer.